Faint piano music streams through the air. Wherever the eye lingers, it is met with golden woodcarving, Venetian crystal, ancient frescos, silken tapestries, and colorful marble inlays. Through the 5 meter high windows you can see tourists crowding the Vaporettos on the Canal Grande, yet here, inside, in this oasis of tranquility and ennui, you sense nothing of it. “Welcome to Aman Venice”, a friendly lady greets me in flawless English.
Of all the luxury hotels in Venice, the Aman hotel probably sticks out the most. It’s the only hotel in the inner city with a big garden (in fact there are two!), it’s located in an authentic 16th-century Venetian Palazzo and it has the largest entry-level rooms (45m²!).
Tourist guides like to point out that this is the place where George and Amal Clooney stayed for their weirding. But it’s probably more important to know that it is one of only eight palazzi monumentali in Venice. Famous masterminds like Veronese or JMW Turner painted the remarkable building with its landmark obelisks on the roof. In a way, I could easily mention it on my list of the top places to visit in Venice.
But there is no denying the big price tag. In fact, it’s the most expensive hotel in the city. So, is staying at the Aman Venice worth it? In this detailed review, I’m going to share all my experiences from my recent visit with you. Enjoy.
Note: This is a non-sponsored review. I have no association with Aman Venice at all and paid for my 3-night stay myself. As I booked a special offer freely available on the official website I got upgraded to a Palazzo stanza.
A detailed look at the Aman Venice hotel
In a city, where rents are so high the locals are moving to the suburbs, Aman Venice dedicates a whole 16th-century palazzo to public space. Except for one big suite, all other rooms are located in the 18th-century annex of the ancient city palace. That in itself speaks for the level of luxury you can expect here.
Bar, restaurants, lounges, library, meeting room, a small gym, a spa, and a rooftop terrace – as the staff member guides me through the main house shortly after my arrival, I can hardly believe how much space is essentially “wasted” on the off chance a guest leaves the room and wants to read a book in quiet solitude.
If this was a resort in the Caribbeans then you could easily see the reason behind it. But here in Venice, where everyone is exploring the many small islands and waterways of the ancient city during the day, that kind of luxury seems almost frivolous. The only other place I ever experienced something like this was the Aman hotel in Tokyo.
As a result, Aman Venice is incredibly serene. An adjective I choose quite reluctantly, especially in this city, but no other word would do this luxury hotel justice. The hotel only opened in 2013 so everything was in pristine shape.
There are altogether only 24 rooms and signature suites. Most of them boast original architecture and impressive frescoes, and quite a few of them actually share an impressive view of a beautiful garden terrace and the Grand Canal.
It might also be quite interesting to know that Aman only rented the palace – the owners still live on the top floor of the imposing complex. This is actually the best way to describe this Aman hotel only 500 meters away from the Rialto bridge. Essentially it feels like staying at a private palace for a night or two. From that perspective, it reminded be a lot of Amangalla in Sri Lanka.
They even have a little spa. Nothing spectacular, but a standard range of treatments is available. Sadly I didn’t have the time to test it. But I’m quite sure they will be able to help you relax after a long day walking through La Serenissima.
The suites at Aman Venice
I stayed at a Palazzo Stanza – a beautiful suite on the first floor with lots of natural light and magnificent views of the Grand Canal. The 4 signature suites of the hotel are even more impressive. All of them feature original fireplaces, frescoes, and many other details.
It is all mixed with contemporary Italian design. Jean-Michel Gathy really succeeded in breathing life into an authentic Renaissance palace.
My suite had a huge bed and living room and an equally huge bathroom. It might be important to note that basically all of the rooms have a different layout. As such, even the size of the entry-level of Palazzo Chamber Affresco can vary between 47-77 square meters.
Most of the more expensive suites aren’t that much larger. What separates them from the rest are unique details, like frescos by Tiepolo and a 16th-century Sansovino fireplace, and of course the view.
And let me tell you: the view is amazing. Waking up and seeing a gondola drift by is nothing short of spectacular. It’s a bit harder to say if it is worth it.
Depending on the season, the smallest room (which is still almost as big as the biggest suites at the Danieli or the Gritti Palace) will be 1,000 to 1,600 US-Dollar per night. The rooms with Canal Grande view will cost twice as much and the famous Tiepolo Suite will be 5,000+ USD per night in high season.
Personally speaking, I’d say that the upgrade to a room with historical details is totally worth it as it adds a unique depth to your stay. You’ll have the Grand Canal view during breakfast anyway, so upgrading to a room with views (but which is otherwise almost identical in size) is not worth it. Except you plan to stay a lot in your room.
But let’s take a closer look at my room.
There was a huge king-sized bed with very comfortable cushions and mattresses. I’m usually extremely sensitive and have big troubles sleeping in hotel beds (despite almost exclusively staying at 5+ star hotels) and here I slept like a baby.
There was a lovely little sitting area with fresh fruits and some books and a huge TV screen. And another set of chairs because why not?
The room was separated by a gigantic closet that easily fit in all the luggage you could possibly bring (and then some). It might be one of my pet-peeves, but I just hate it when a room doesn’t have enough space to store big suitcases and you are either forced to unpack (unconvenient on road trips) or store it somewhere on the ground.
Here, I had no problems at all. I just love the way almost all Aman hotels offer separate storage space for both occupants of the room – it makes getting ready so much more pleasant.
There were also two desks (again, because why not) and much to my amazement a docking station with Bluetooth instead of the iPhone 1 sockets you so often find in other hotels.
The bathroom was quite lovely as well, though I didn’t like the fact that there was no separated toilett. But I guess you can only do so much in a Renaissance palace. There were his and her sinks with huge mirrors and all the amenities you need. Of course, they also had the Aman signature cosmetics available (I love the smell of their shower gel!)
The bathtub was amazing and actually offered a view of the Grand Canal (if you were so bold to open the blinds, that is). I do have to mention though, that the faucet was so tiny that it took almost 45 minutes to fill the tub. Let’s just say that could be improved.
On a more positive note, I also have to mention that my room was sooo quiet. I’m not sure I even heard a single noise during my whole stay. You know, the kind were other guests are rushing down the hallway, etc.
Breakfast and Restaurants
For many guests, food is perhaps the most essential part of their stay. So, let’s talk about F&B, eh?
Breakfast at Aman Venice is served in the former ballroom of the Papadopoli family. There are two additional, equally as magnificent, rooms to the side, so it never feels crowded at all. I would gladly pay just sitting here and enjoying the outstanding views of the Grand Canal, and I am not even joking.
As usual in Aman hotels, there is no breakfast buffet (Amanjena in Marrakech is the only exception). Instead, service is exclusively a-la-carte. I said it before, and I said it again, I wish more hotels would adopt this practice. It makes breakfast so much quieter when people don’t constantly stand up to get a fresh glass of orange juice and the food doesn’t need to wither away for hours before a guest takes pity.
All in all, I was quite impressed with the breakfast. I couldn’t say I ordered a single bad course in my three days at the hotel. Everything tasted quite excellent and came to the table in a timely manner. Even the hot chocolate, which so often tastes horrible even in luxury hotels, was a pleasant surprise.
When I ordered something that wasn’t on the menu (like blue-cheese or a fresh charcuterie board) these wishes were equally well accommodated. In summary: High standard, nothing to complain.
You can also enjoy a quick lunch or dinner in the magnificent ballrooms on the first floor of the palazzo. As I was quite intrigued, I tried out the Arva restaurant on my first night. You see, F&B is not especially Aman’s strong point. They usually don’t have Michelin-star restaurants or anything you would classify as ambitious haute cuisine.
Here in Venice, they are trying to deviate from that and invited a couple of renowned chefs to create the menu (and sometimes even cook). So, of course, I had to sample that part of the hotel as well.
But let’s say I ended up with mixed feelings. Of course, the setting at night is equally as beautiful as during the day. Add some beautiful Murano wine glasses, and things get hard to top – even most 3-star Michelin restaurants will have a very hard time competing.
In terms of the menu, I do have to say I was quite disappointed. There was no degustation or signature menu at all. You basically hard to assemble your own. There were 5 alternatives for each course, which I felt was a bit limited given the fact that you could basically have only 4 courses including the dessert.
The focus was on traditional Italian dishes with a bit of influence from the global village. The quality was quite excellent and, again, I couldn’t say I had a single dish I didn’t like.
We do have to talk about the quantity though. Usually, when you dine at the top restaurants in the world, each course won’t be particularly large. Together with the amuse bouches, the cheese board, the chocolate wagon, and the bread, you will easily able to eat your fill.
At the Arva, the courses were of that size, but well, not that many. Even with a second helping of the bread, I’m not sure it was enough (and mind you, with my 70kg I am not exactly a big eater). Together with the quite high price point (our bill for two people with 3 courses and wine came to around 250 USD), I was a bit disappointed.
I feel, with a bit of tweaking of the service and the overall presentation of the different dishes they could content for getting 1-star – but not the way the menu is currently organized. Because the quality of the cooking was quite superb. Not worth a trip, as they would say, but thoroughly enjoyable.
The overall service
So, how was the overall service at the Aman Venice? I couldn’t name a single fault. Seriously. I’m not even sure what else I could mention here. From the moment I arrived until I departed, there was not a single flaw.
I was greeted by name, nobody ever asked for the room numbers. At breakfast, all waiters knew the individual preferences of each guest (you know, the sparkling water/still water or coffee or tea with milk kind) on the second day.
My schedule (like when I had a boat trip, etc) was also present and every question was met with a satisfactory answer right away. Room service was as spotless as it was unnoticed, and every member of the staff was friendly and genuinely welcoming throughout our stay. As typical for Aman resorts, there were also little gifts waiting for you on the bed each night.
Even small hiccups that are bound to happen in such a historic building (like the hot water didn’t function very well on the first night) was fixed right away and without me noticing a thing. When the concierge accidentally gave me the wrong information, he tried to call me multiple times to provide me with a revision.
Even my request for a late-check-out was met with not even a second of consideration.
I do have to mention that I visited in February while the hotel was rather empty. But I’m positive Aman Venice will be able to keep up this standard even during high season, especially as I learned they employ a couple of additional people during that time.
Summary of my Aman Venice review
Let’s wrap my review of Aman Venice up.
This hotel is outstanding, and I can easily name this best hotel in Venice. In fact, I’d actually easily rank it among the top 10 city hotels in the world. The only thing that is missing is a pool or a big spa (which probably makes the Belmond Cipriani an alternative for families visiting Venice).
It is located in a stunning historic palace and is both beautiful and quiet. It takes a mere 5 minutes to walk to the Rialto bridge, which is ideal for exploring the city.
The service is spotless and the food is excellent all the way. The rooms and suites are the biggest in the city. I particularly appreciate the mix between contemporary and traditional design as the rest of Venice is often a bit overboard when it comes to golden ornaments and glittering crystal.
It’s certainly not the cheapest place you could stay, but I actually feel you get an excellent value for the money spent, especially considering the sheer size of the rooms and the many public areas of the hotel.
Aman Venice is a quiet hotel that offers a serene oasis of ambitious luxury in a unique historic setting. It’s one of those rare hotels where the high-gloss pictures on the official website actually match the reality. If you can afford it, then I don’t see a single reason why you shouldn’t stay here.